AL responsible for BNP's polls boycott
The BNP-backed candidates wanted to stay in the city elections until the end, but Awami League men by intimidating polling agents and capturing polling stations made them boycott the polls, Khaleda Zia was quoted as saying last night.
The BNP chief was holding a closed-door meeting with around a hundred pro-BNP lawyers at her Gulshan office. No media was allowed to cover the meeting. However, a number of meeting participants told this correspondent about her statement.
“Within hours after the voting opened, Awami League cadres drove our polling agents out of all the voting centres. The Election Commission did nothing to this end. We had no alternative to boycotting the polls,” Khaleda's adviser Ahmed Aazam Khan, who was present at the meeting, quoted her as saying.
“If we had not participated in the polls, people and the international community would have misunderstood us. But now they realised why we boycotted the January 5 national elections.”
Khaleda was also quoted by pro-BNP lawyer Sanaullah Mia as saying: “Ruling party's capturing polling stations and rigging votes have once again proved that our decision not to participate in the national election was right.
“It has also been proved that a free, fair and inclusive election is not possible under the present government.”
The BNP chief alleged that police, Rab and BGB personnel had assisted the ruling party men in capturing some polling stations and stuffing ballot box.
Also yesterday, senior BNP leader Brig Gen (retd) ASM Hannan Shah said the party demanded the Election Commission cancel the April 28 polls results and hold city corporation elections afresh.
He was talking to reporters after placing wreaths at the grave of former president Ziaur Rahman in the capital, marking the founding anniversary of the party's labour front Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal.